Images of Hong Kong usually showcase its glorious skyscraper laden skyline. However, Hong Kong is much more than simply a concrete jungle, this vivacious city, which often compared to New York City, has a varied landscape.
Rolling green hills, verdant country parks, quiet bays and sheltered coves and sandy beaches all feature as a part of Hong Kong’s unique topography.
Hong Kong boasts of an extensive and inexpensive public transport system, which makes traversing the city easy, especially if you want to head to the beach. Many of Hong Kong’s beaches are located close to the city and constitute favorite weekend getaway spots during the hot, sultry Hong Kong summers.
Beaches near the city
Stanley Beach and St Stephen’s Bay
Guidebooks and maps of Hong Kong always list Stanley Market as a must-do tourist attraction. Stanley Market is located within Stanley village, a beach town situated on a peninsula at the southern tip of Hong Kong Island. Stanley has two beaches, Stanley Main Beach, and St Stephen’s Bay. Both beaches have facilities for swimming though Stanley Main Beach is better known owing to its proximity to area attractions like Stanley Market, Blake Pier, Murray House and the restaurants and bars of Stanley Main Street.
Getting to Stanley – From Exchange Square Bus stop in Central take bus nos. 6, 6X, 260, 66 to Stanley Village or then you can simply hop in a taxi for 20 minute ride to Stanley.
Repulse Bay and South Bay
The relatively unspoiled beaches of Repulse Bay and South Bay are also situated on the Southside of Hong Kong Island. In fact, if you are heading to Stanley from Hong Kong’s Central Business District (simply called Central) you are bound to pass by this oceanfront enclave.
Of the two areas, Repulse Bay is more ‘built up’ and plays host to luxury condominiums, villas, malls and even an outpost of Hong Kong’s famous, luxurious Peninsula Hotel. South Bay is only accessible by taxi or private car and is a quieter enclave, so if you are craving for peace and quiet time then head to South Bay via the palm-lined Middle Bay. Both Repulse Bay and South Bay beach feature shark nets, floating platforms, barbecue pits, toilets and changing rooms if you fancy taking a dip in the waters of the South China Sea. The South Bay Beach Club restaurant located on South Bay is a popular haunt for quaffing sundowners while taking in a spectacular sunset.
Getting there - From Exchange Square Bus stop in Central take bus nos. 6, 6X, 260, 66 to Repulse Bay Beach. You can also take a taxi to get here. The ride to Repulse Bay is incredibly scenic and never fails to wow visitors.
Turtle Cove is another small beach located on the Southside of Hong Kong Island to the west of the Tai Tam Reservoir area. This white sand beachfront lies at the bottom of a long stairway and is surrounded on two sides by tall, green cliffs. The beach offers facilities like a kiddie’ playground, barbecue pits, changing rooms and showers. The gentle waters of Turtle cove are popular with water sports enthusiasts who head here to waterski, wakeboard, and sea kayak. Turtle Cove does not have any restaurants or food kiosks so do bring along refreshments if you intend to spend the day there.
Getting there - Take the MTR from Central station to Sai Wan Ho station get out of the station via exit A and get the bus no 14 to Turtle Cove bus stop at Tai Tam. Of course, getting a taxi from Central to Tai Tam is the easier option.
Beaches at a distance
The above-mentioned beaches are within easy reach of the Central district of Hong Kong. However, if you willing travel a bit you can explore several stunning beaches that lie at a distance from the city-center
Shek-O and Big Wave Beach
The vast expanse of Shek-O beach lies east of Repulse Bay and attracts hordes of beach-goers during the blistering Hong Kong summers. This golden sand beach is quite commercialized and hosts several restaurants, cafes, and bars. Lifeguards are on hand during the season and the beach also has amenities like shark nets, barbecue pits, showers and changing rooms.
Big Wave Beach is located within easy access of Shek-O. As its name suggests, this beach is known for its decent-sized swells and thus is favorite of surfing enthusiasts in Hong Kong.
Getting there - Take the MTR from Central to Shau Kei Wan station and get out of the station at exit A3. Take bus no. 9 to Shek-O beach. From Shek-O beach, you can walk to Big Wave beach in approximately ten minutes.
The beaches of Sai Kung Peninsula
The town of Sai Kung is located within the New Territories area of Hong Kong. A laid-back beach town, Sai Kung is renowned as the home of many stunning beaches like Hap Mun Bay, Tai Long Wan and Long Ke beach.
To access these beaches, you need to get to Sai Kung town first. Luckily, Sai Kung is accessible by public transport from Central though you will probably have to use a combination of both the MTR and public buses to get there.
Hap Mun Bay is a golden sandy beach easily accessible via sampan (small boat) from the Sai Kung town waterfront. Hap Mun Bay features basic facilities adequate for a day at the beach such as a refreshment kiosk, barbecue pits, showers and changing rooms.
If you are in Hong Kong for longish visit, you may want to check out the beachside paradise of Long Ke, which is nestled deep in High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung East Country Park. This remote beachfront features crystal clear waters and a powder white sand beach encircled by lush green hills. The beach is a favorite with sun seekers, hikers, campers and day-trippers on junk boat jaunts (hiring a ‘junk’ boat and setting out to see is a favorite Hong Kong pastime). Long Ke features barbecue pits, picnic tables and shower and toilet facilities.
Getting there - Get a taxi at Sai Kung Town and head out to Man Yi Reservoir East Dam. Once there you can walk down to the beach via a downhill walk that takes approximately 30 minutes. The journey back is more arduous as you need to walk back uphill the same way.
Perhaps the ‘best’ beach in Sai Kung is Tai Long Wan. Tai Long Wan is a stretch of pristine beach composed of four beaches Ham Tin, Sai Wan, Tung Wan and Tai Wan.
A steep hike through over the cliffs and shrubbery of Sai Kung Country Park leads you on to the stunning Tai Long Wan beach. This beachside paradise is encircled by green hills and features long stretches of white sand beach bordering azure waters. The individual beaches of Tai Long Wan host small beach cafes and have facilities like surfboard and camping equipment rental, toilets and changing and shower facilities.
Getting there - Hop in a taxi a Sai Kung town and get to Sai Wan Pavilion. Once here follow the path to Sai Wan beach (a trek of almost 45 minutes).
Beaches a ferry ride away
Ferries play an important role in the daily life of Hong Kong as they provide easy access to the many outlying islands that form a part of the city. Lamma Island and Lantau Island are two inhabited outlying islands of Hong Kong. Both these islands host various attractions including beautiful beaches like Hung Sing Ye, Lo So Shing, Silvermine Bay, Pui O and Cheung Sha Beach, which are well worth a visit.
Getting there - The ferries to these islands depart periodically from Hong Kong Island’s Central Pier.